Events linked to social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political activities will be allowed from September 21 with a cap of not more than 100 attendees, the Centre announced in its Unlock4 guidelines on Saturday. In March, the Central government, which is the highest executive authority in matters related to the coronavirus pandemic, had banned all these gatherings to arrest the growth of the deadly virus.
"Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement today.
Last month, the Centre, in its Unlock3 guidelines had banned the social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural religious functions and other large congregations.
"In Unlock 4, which will come into effect from September 1, 2020, the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further," the Centre said in a statement today.
The Centre has allowed Metro rail services - which have been halted since March - from September 7. However, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and international air travel of passengers except those permitted by the MHA, will remain banned.
A strict lockdown will be implemented in high-risk containment zones, the Unlock4 guidelines said, adding no local shutdown should be announced by the states without consultation with the Central government.
"State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government," it said.
The Centre had allowed the reopening of the places of worship in June with precautions. However, religious events were not permitted. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court refused permission for Muharram processions, saying if they were allowed, there would be "chaos".
Coronavirus cases have been rising steadily across India, at around 70,000 new infections every day, with the total number of cases crossing 34 lakh behind the United States and Brazil. More than 62,000 people have died in the country so far.